Tourist Tip #89 / Last Night a DJ Saved My Life at a Wedding

Israeli weddings may dish up dinner and serve up their songs differently than their American counterparts. But you won’t be complaining.

Are you attending an Israeli wedding, and itching to put on your dancing shoes? You’ve come to the right place. Israeli weddings are raucous affairs, with enough music and food to keep you going ‘til dawn.

Be prepared, however, to encounter a few cultural differences.

While in America and Europe, many Jewish weddings get their groove on thanks to a formal, live band, in Israel the vast majority of weddings are tuned by a DJ. This rule tends to fall by the wayside at more religious nuptials, but if the happy couple in question is secular, chances are, the soundtrack will be of the spun variety.

This doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice any of your favorite Jewish melodies. The hora, and its dangerous sidekick, the chair dance, are staples at nearly every wedding, but later in the evening you can expect to hear less klezmer and more Katy Perry.

Another formality that hasn’t quite transferred across the Atlantic is the plated dinner. Some Israeli couples will take advantage of the a more rigid, multi-course dinner service, but by a wide margin, most Israeli weddings involve a festive meal served buffet-style and featuring several varieties of fish, meat, vegetables and grains. This is followed up a few hours later not by a large, elaborate wedding cake, but rather a dessert table featuring dozens of individually-portioned sweets, which are easier to grab and go while you’re shimmying back to the dance floor, under the spell of the DJ’s tunes.

Gil Cohen-Magen